Wednesday, November 12, 2008


See that mountain of kale? Before it got to be a pile by the sink it had to be picked, the large veins removed, then chopped and washed three times in sinks filled with cold water.

The next step was to plunge it into boiling water for two minutes, then let it cool in another sink full of cold, cold water. Then you drain it and pack it in freezer bags.

The boiling water makes the kale wilt and turn dark green.

When it was all over, that big pile of kale fit easily into two, one-quart bags.

That’s the bummer about kale. Since I was a girl it’s been my very favorite vegetable. But it takes a lot of work to get a little kale.

All the greens are like that. Chard, beet greens, mustard…it doesn’t matter. It takes a lot to make a little.

Some things are just like that.

Greens are awesome things. They’re packed with vitamins (no wonder—when they’re condensed like that) and they taste…wonderful!

Kale is sweet and mild this time of year. And the plants themselves are amazing! The kale that’s still in the garden is still standing and edible even after several nights with temperatures in the teens (it would have been better if it was all picked now, but processing takes so much time!). Joel Rosen, from the Lake Superior Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association, told me frost signals the plant to send sugars from the roots into the leaves.

I cook kale in salted water until it gets tender (kale can be tough sometimes), and then add vinegar or soy sauce when I eat it. My grandmother used to cook it with ham. Any way you do it, it’s yummy!

(P.S. the third photo is Dinosaur kale, aka Italian kale—it looks totally cool!)

-Maggie Montgomery

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